HC notice to Kerala govt over withdrawal of suspension of Excise officials in custodial death case

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday issued a notice to the state government on a petition challenging the government order to withdraw the suspension of Excise department officers accused in a case in which a man died in the custody of the department.

Justice PV Kunhikrishnan issued the order while admitting the petition filed by Nessi, the wife of Renjith Kumar, who died in the custody of the department. The petition challenged the withdrawal of the case against the officers before the completion of the trial as well as the disciplinary proceedings pending against them.

The government issued the order in favour of seven excise officers — Ummer AV, Anupkumar, Abdul Jabbar, Nidhin A, Mahesh KU, Smibin VM and Benny M.O. who are accused in the case.

Counsel for the petitioner Advocate Jyothilakshmy KK submitted that seven officials of the Excise Enforcement and Anti Narcotics Squad, Thrissur, were charge-sheeted by the CBI in the custodial death case. The excise official took Renjith Kumar into illegal custody on October 1, 2019, from Guruvayur for possession of two kilograms of ganja. Renjith Kumar, who was taken to a godown of a toddy shop at Pavaratty in Thrissur district and brutally assaulted, died in the evening, stated the charge sheet.

The petitioner submitted that the accused, who are excise officials, are facing prosecution before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam. Hence, withdrawal of suspension from the service and their reinstatement in the same department are illegal.

The petition stated that it will adversely affect the case of the prosecution and the petitioners felt that they will be denied justice by tampering with the evidence or influencing the witnesses by the accused persons.

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